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The island’s famous salty white cheese beloved by many at home and abroad, and known as Cypriot halloumi cheese, or hellim in the Turkish sector, is in the process of being granted a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) registration. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Mr. N. Kouialis, the application and registration process should conclude in the summer of 2016. It has not been without its difficulties, as there have been nine objections from commercial producers in other countries, many of whom do not use the proportions of sheep and goat’s milk as used in the traditional halloumi production. Halloumi has gained an international reputation and is featured in widely in cookery books and used in many innovative ways by chefs. The PDO registration is expected to help promote the cheese even more widely and add value in the eye of the consumer.
Mr. Kouyialis said that the registration will be a boost to the agricultural sector and that there are plans to register ten further agricultural and food products. In a concerted effort to boost production and improve standards the government has invested in excess of €35 million in creating new farms, upgrading existing ones, improving productivity and promoting sustainable practices such as solar voltaic energy production for agricultural use and the use of recycled water. Support is also being offering to qualifying goat and sheep farmers.
PDO status is also held by another Cypriot product, the famous desert wine Commandaria. By governmental decree, the area designated exclusively for the production of the wine encompasses fourteen villages on the south facing slopes of the Troodos Mountains. These are namely, Agios Georgios, Ayios Konstantinos, Agios Mamas, Ayios Pavlos, Apsiou, Doros, Gerasa, Kapilio, Kalo Chorio, Laneia, Louvaras, Monagri, Silikou and Zoopigi.
In a similar vein, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has handed out awards for gastronomic excellence as part of the European Destinations of Excellence initiative. The Pitsilia region famed for its traditional lountza, sausages, ham, rosewater, fruits preserved in sugar syrup as well as liqueurs and specialist breads scooped the first prize, with the second place going to the Xeros-Diarizos Valley in the Paphos district. The CTO Deputy Director noted that tourism centred around ethnic culinary experiences is a growing market in the tourism sector.
Sources: www.goldnews.com, en.wikipedia.org, cyprus-mail.com, traveltradecyprus.travel.
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